Three-star debutant wins Blair Castle International

Hazel Towers Blair Castle
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The CCI3* at Blair Castle Equi-Trek International Horse Trials has been won by a rider competing at this level for the first time.

‘The nightmare’

Hazel Towers, who is based in Harrogate, was visibly shocked to find herself at the top of the leaderboard after going clear on the cross-country with Simply Smart.

Known as ‘the nightmare’ at home, the mare was bought on the cheap from Ireland as an unbacked four-year-old.

Bog pony

“Her dam died when she was only eight weeks old and she’s had plenty of attitude ever since,” said Hazel. “The plan was to produce her to novice level to sell, but no one wanted to buy her. She’s definitely not for sale now, I love her to bits.

“She’s not remotely thoroughbred, more of an Irish bog pony, and doesn’t normally like hills; my goal was just to get round and come home safe.”

Hard work

In the final phase none of the remaining seven competitors jumped clear, and Hazel and Simply Smart had a single rail down to take the title.

“Winning this class means everything,” said Hazel. “It’s my first ever CCI3* and all the hard work has paid off.”

Louise Harwood and Balladeer Miller Man were second, while last year’s CCI2* winners Caroline Clarke and Touch Too Much were third.

You can watch all the action on H&C as we are showing highlights of the CCI3*. Blair Castle Horse Trials 2017 premieres on Sky 253 on 1 September at 8pm, or you can watch online via H&C Play or Amazon Video.

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